The RA Special Investigation Service (SIS) continues the investigation of June 23 incident near the Kentron Police Department of Yerevan, wherein journalists’ professional activities were obstructed.
As we have reported, on June 23, 2014 journalists together with dozens of people were waiting near the Kentron Police Department for the release of activists detained earlier that day in the city centre for participation in a civil protest against the upcoming increase of electricity tariffs (27 participants of the protest were detained). Standing in line, policemen started pushing the people. Journalists were among the casualties of the incident. In particular, Ani Gevorgian, correspondent of “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” newspaper, and Sargis Gevorgian, cameraman of iLur.am, were injured. Ani Gevorgian and Sargis Gevorgian reported the crime to the police. On July 1, SIS initiated a criminal case under Clause 3 of Article 164 (“Impending the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”) and by Clause 2 of Article 309 (“Abuse of power”) of the RA Criminal Code. Since other citizens also filed complains about the actions of the police, all the complaints were united into one case. Ani Gevorgian and Sargis Gevorgian, together with a number of other participants of the incident, were recognized as victims (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 1-8, 2014).
Ani Gevorgian informed YPC that she was summoned to SIS on October 14 to provide some additional clarifications on the matter. On October 15, she confronted one of the policemen who used force against the citizens. Ani Gevorgian stressed that she has provided the investigators with footage of the incident.
The journalist also said that on October 10 she appealed to the RA Criminal Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling of the court of general jurisdiction which had rejected her complaint against the SIS decision to terminate the criminal proceedings against the police officers involved in February 12 incident.
As we have reported, on February 12 Ani Gevorgian and Sargis Gevorgian, cameraman of iLur.am, were detained in Yerevan downtown when covering a public campaign of the Armenian National Congress, and were taken to the police station where they have been held for about four hours. Police officers seized journalists’ cameras and mistreated them. In particular, the head of Kentron Police Department of Yerevan slapped Ani Gevorgian on the face. The journalist turned to the SIS to report the crime. The statement reported three episodes: the attempt by policeman Vardan Gevorgian to forcibly take away the camera from Ani Gevorgian during the public action; the seizure of the memory card from her video camera at the police department; the actions of Artak Poghosian, the head of the Kentron Police Department, who slapped the journalist on the face and seized her phone. On February 25, SIS instigated criminal proceedings under Clause 2 of Article 164 (“Impending the legitimate professional activities of a journalist by an abuse of power on part of a state official”) and by Clause 2 of Article 309 (“Abuse of power, accompanied by violence, use of weapons or special means”) of the RA Criminal Code. However, on June 24, SIS terminated the investigation of the case due to absence of corpus delicti. Ani Gevorgian challenged this decision in the RA Prosecutor’s Office but the claim was rejected. She turned to the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan. The journalist challenged in the court both, the SIS decision to dismiss criminal proceedings against the police officers, and the refusal of Gevorg Kostanian, RA Prosecutor General, to check on what grounds the case against the policemen had been closed. On September 30, the Court of General Jurisdiction rejected Ani Gevorgian’s complaint (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 29 – October 5, 2014).